Ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas leveled criticism at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
over the letter exchange between
the two leaders.
In an interview published by Russian news agency Interfax on Tuesday, Abbas said the letter Netanyahu handed to the Palestinian Authority contained a message that was "too general" and did not address the demands stipulated by Ramallah.
Abbas noted that the political deadlock stemmed from the continued construction in the settlements, adding that "unfortunately, Prime Minister Netanyahu's reply (to my letter) did not address the essence of the problems I presented, which are the core issues in our dialogue."
The Palestinian president mentioned the issues allegedly disregarded by Netanyahu, saying they included "the borders of the Palestinian state and withdrawal from occupied territories."
According to Abbas, Netanyahu's reply only called for a return to the negotiations table, without addressing the commitment to freeze settlement construction in the West Bank.
'The continued construction of Jewish homes is spreading like crayfish in the West Bank, resulting in a standstill," Abbas noted, adding that "the ball is in Israel's court."
Abbas further claimed that the Palestinians have demonstrated "extreme flexibility" in similar situations in the past. "We agreed to indirect talks, overtures, and even direct negotiations with the aim of obtaining a peace agreement that is based on past agreements adopted by the parties and guided by the principle of 'land for peace'."
On Monday, Putin
and Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed the issue of deadlocked talks, the former urging both sides to return to the negotiations table.
Netanyahu replied to Putin saying "Mr. President, we all aspire for peace. We are interested to discuss ways in which Russia can help Israelis and the Palestinians promote peace even during these trying times.
"The key to peace is complex, but ultimately very simple. Either Abbas comes here, or I'll go to him and I am ready for both options, but we must start taking," he said.